5 Ways to Be a ‘Third-Culture’ Christian

| February 18, 2016


Missions is cross-cultural, cross-geographic ministry. Such a statement implies distance, a space individuals and families must traverse. Understanding this explains why we no longer refer to children of cross-cultural workers simply as “missionary kids.” Instead, the missionary community has largely adopted the terminology of “third-culture kid,” or TCK.

This new vocabulary has a good goal. It’s meant to be descriptive, even instructive, of the reality such children experience living in three cultures simultaneously. They’re expatriates living abroad in a host culture. Yet the culture they inhabit is neither fully American (or whatever their nationality) nor fully that of their host country. Instead, their world of experience is some mixture of the two cultures, creating a distinctly third realm of experience.

Third-Culture Christians 

Interestingly, this mirrors the experience of every Christian. We’re born citizens of this world, citizens of a particular country, be it America or Greece or China or Australia. Upon our new birth, however, we acquire a second passport issued by the kingdom of heaven. Yet we do not fully inhabit this heavenly nation. With feet in both cultures, we live out our earthly days in a kind of third culture. We are, in a true sense, American Christians or Chinese Christians. We…


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